There’s no better excuse for a fruity cocktail on a Tuesday — it’s Mardi Gras. You may not be in the Big Easy for Fat Tuesday, but you can bring Bourbon Street to the Big Apple with these celebratory concoctions. Get your NOLA fix without leaving New York City –t hese are our picks for the city’s best New Orleans-inspired cocktails. By Jonathan Pogash.
The Hurricane Club
The drink that was popularized at Pat O’Brien’s in NOLA during the 1940’s, the Hurricane, has come back to the cocktail forefront as a must-try. The Hurricane Club is the obvious choice to imbibe in one of these powerful potions. Try an original or go for their Hurricane Mai Tai (Hurricane Rum, lychee, mandarin, and house-made orgeat syrup).
Saxon + Parole
The epitome of the New Orleans cocktail is the Sazerac. Created in the early part of the 19th century by a Haitian apothecary, this drink originally contained cognac, absinthe, sugar, water, and bitters (Peychaud’s). Today, the recipe has been slightly modified to include rye whiskey instead of Cognac. At Saxon + Parole, you can get the best of both worlds. Their “Pecan Maple Sazerac” includes BOTH rye whiskey and cognac, absinthe, peach sugar, and Peychaud’s bitters.
Order a Vieux Carre cocktail at Maison Premiere in Brooklyn. This cocktail, named for the French quarter of New Orleans, was created by famed bartender Walter Bergeron at the Hotel Monteleone on Royal St. It’s a mixture of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cognac, Benedictine, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters. This will wake you right up – just in time for more Fat Tuesday celebrations!
The Ramos Gin Fizz is a frothy, gin-based concoction created by Henry C. Ramos in 1888 at his New Orleans Bar, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon. The concoction is a tough one to make properly. The balance of citrus, flower, sweet, spirit, and dairy make this drink one of the easiest to get wrong. One New York City venue that gets it right is Daddy-O in the West Village. Don’t worry if the drink takes a few minutes to make – it’s all in the process and ingredients. And after all, it’s well worth the wait.
Don’t think that Rye in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will only serve you rye whiskey. Try their elegantly prepared French 75, originally served with Cognac as it’s base, now taking on gin as it’s main ingredient. Named after the French 75 field gun, and created in 1915 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, in this version, the bartenders measure out some gin, a dash of fresh lemon, and a topper of sparkling wine (Rye uses Prosecco), and Voila!
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Jonathan Pogash, aka the Cocktail Guru, is is a beverage consultant, writer, and educator.